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Israelis Indicate Belief Hussein May Soon Reverse Ban on Terrorists

February 23, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli sources indicated today a belief that Jordan’s King Hussein may soon reverse a publicly-stated policy of opposition to use of Jordanian territory as bases by terrorist gangs making raids into Israel and Israeli-held areas.

These sources said that, when King Hussein announced last week that he would not allow terrorists to give Israel “pretexts and justifications for aggression,” he was not acting independently but was following a stand previously taken by President Nasser of Egypt. Nasser announced his opposition at the Arab summit conference in Khartoum last summer, arguing that the Arabs must not provoke Israeli retaliation until they were ready to wage war against Israel again.

Nasser has since changed his views, the sources declared. They cited the fact that the semi official Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, has declared that terrorists and Palestinian Arabs must continue military action against Israel because “it is the only language Israel understands.” Al Ahram frequently provides a sounding board for Naser’s views. It was suggested that the Egyptian leader wanted to prove to the world there would be no peace along the demarcation lines until Israel withdrew from the occupied Arab territories. It was also suggested that Nasser wanted to bring the Middle East deadlock back before the United Nations Security Council and was encouraging continued border violence as a pretext for doing so. (A contrary report was published by the Evening Standard of London in an article by Jon Kimche which said that King Hussein had informed his Cabinet and a secret session of the Jordanian Parliament on Tuesday that he would abdicate his throne and leave Jordan if his anti-terrorist policy was rejected. According to Kimche, Hussein told his Cabinet that he had received a set of proposals from United Nations emissary Gunnar Jarring which the Israeli Government had approved and that he wanted Parliamentary authority to back his decision to negotiate a settlement with Israel through the UN, even if other Arab governments opposed such a move.)

(The London Times reported in a dispatch from Amman today that the Jordanian Government has been compelled by public opinion to back away from King Hussein’s anti-terrorist stand. The issue was forced by Prime Minister Bahjat Al Talhouni, who publicly disavowed Government action against terrorist gangs on Jordanian territory in what amounted to a direct contradiction to the King’s stated policy. As a result, Talhouni has public opinion on his side, making it difficult for Hussein to replace him, the Times said.)

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